House panel to examine broadband stimulus spending

A congressional panel is scheduled to meet this morning to discuss broadband loans and grants programs bankrolled by the 2009 federal economic stimulus package.

Lawrence Strickling, Commerce
Jonathan Adelstein, USDA RUS
Todd Zinser, Commerce

Top to bottom: Strickling, Adelstein, Zinser to testify.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will met at 10 a.m. ET, to review broadband stimulus efforts from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA; Pub.L. 111-5).

A Republican-drafted subcommittee staff memo indicates that discussions at the hearing will likely include whether U.S. taxpayers "are getting their money's worth" from the $7.2 billion in broadband grants and loans authorized in the stimulus package.

"Despite claims of ARRA projects being 'shovel ready,' recipients of 233 National Telecommunications and Information Administration awards worth $4 billion have spent just $1.6 billion of it so far. Less than a dozen of the projects have been completed," the memo reads.

Among senior administration officials scheduled to testify before the Republican-led subcommittee: Assistant Commerce Secretary Larry Strickling, administrator at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA); Jonathan Adelstein, administrator of the Agriculture Department's Rural Utilities Service; and Commerce Department Inspector General Todd Zinser. 

For more:
- see the subcommittee Republican staff memo (PDF)

Related articles:
Failures and triumphs on the road to broadband ubiquity
FCC opens $300M fund to boost rural broadband access
Lawmakers scrutinize broadband stimulus fund

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